In the spring of 2012, Urooj Khan scratched a lottery ticket and realized he had just won $1 million. While getting the fat check from Illinois Lottery representatives, he said that he would use the money to expand his dry-cleaning business. However, his joy was short-lived as he died only weeks after winning the lottery.
Medical examiners from Cook Country said that he had died from natural causes since no signs of trauma or injury were found in his body and the blood test raised no questions. However, after a relative pleaded with the Chicago police to do a further investigations, officers found that Khan’s death was caused by cyanide. A homicide investigation was launched. In January 2013, details of Khan’s death were revealed to the media and it caused an international media storm.
Majority of those people who were close to Khan have refused to cooperate with the detectives and this has further added mystery to the case. Khan was born in India and moved to Chicago in the 1980’s. He ventured into real estate business and later dry cleaning business.
Khan loved gambling but stopped when he made hajj – the pilgrimage to Mecca required of Muslims who are able but he again started gambling in 2012 when he bought two tickets and the second ticket won him a million dollars. He opted to get the amount for lump sum and received approximately $600,000 after tax.
No autopsy was done since there was no evidence of foul play. According to his brother Imtiaz Khan, there was tension in the family. Imtiaz believes that it was a murder. When the blood sample was scrutinized further, lethals levels of cyanide were found.
Ansari, Khan’s widow was interviewed. A search warrant was also executed at his home located in West Rogers Park. Khan lived with his wife Ansari and Jasmeen, a daughter from a previous marriage.
His body was exhumed after six months and Stephen Cina the chief medical examiner was to check how the cyanide had entered his body but he later reported that he couldn’t since the body had excessively decomposed.
Detectives questioned Ansari over the ingredients she used to make her husband’s last meal which was traditional Indian lamb curry. She denied any involvement saying that the meal was shared with the whole family including Ansari’s father Fareedun Ansari.In addition Ansari’s father denied any involvement to Khan’s death. However, a year after Khan’s death, the Internal Revenue Service found that Fareedun Ansari owed it $120,000 in back taxes.
The autopsy found that the 75 percent coronary arteries of Khan had been blocked which alluded to the fact that he may have died from natural causes. Coronary artery disease was reported to have contributed to his death.
There are others who said that he might have committed suicide a fact that the medical examiner denied. Khan died without leaving a will but after a court battle, his daughter was awarded condominiums worth $250,000 and a third of the earnings from the lottery. The widow remained with dry cleaning businesses and two thirds of the lottery earnings.
July 20th 2017 was the fifth anniversary since Khan died and still no one has been convicted for the murder.